April 25, 2011
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Convenor, Tanggol Bayi (0917-5003879)
CHR resolution on Roxas case, a continued injustice against women victims of human rights violations – Tanggol Bayi
Tanggol Bayi, an organization of women human rights defenders, today criticized the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) resolution on the illegal abduction, torture, and detention of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, as “it bespeaks of the continued injustice against victims of human rights violations and women human rights defenders under the Arroyo administration.”
Roxas, a member of Bayan-United States and of the cultural group Habi Arts, was abducted on May 19, 2009 in La Paz, Tarlac, with John Edward Jandoc and Juanito Carabeo, while she was on an exposure program with Bayan-Philippines. She was held for more than six days by her abductors and was subjected to various forms of torture based on allegations of her membership to the New People’s Army (NPA).
In its resolution dated 14 February 2011, the CHR said that there is “insufficient evidence” to support the conclusion that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines held Roxas “captive” and “subjected her to physical and mental maltreatment” and “to pinpoint individual members of the AFP as the possible perpetrators.” The CHR also said that they have credible sources of information “that indicate the possibility that members of the NPA committed” the violations against Roxas.
Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi, lambasted the resolution which “absolves members of the AFP of accountability on the rights violations inflicted on Roxas, gives credence to and parrots the military’s illogical propaganda that the NPA was responsible for her abduction and torture.”
“Roxas’s detailed testimony on the line and manner of her interrogation, as well as her account of the various psychological and physical torture done to her, shows the same patterns of abduction, interrogation and torture inflicted by state military forces on the hundreds of victims of such violations. Thus, CHR resolution not only defies logic, it is absurd and malicious as it is no different to the hogwash of lies already churned out by the military, Gen. Jovito Palparan and Pastor Alcover of ANAD,” Palabay said.
She further averred that “instead of pursuing investigations on the identities of the alleged perpetrators from the military, locating and prosecuting them, the CHR chose to wash their hands clean of the rights abuses.”
“The Court of Appeals decision in August 2009 on Roxas’s petition for the writs of amparo and habeas data reaffirmed that her rights were violated and that there is threat to her security. Investigations led by former CHR Chair Leila de Lima then indicate positive directions on the case. This CHR resolution is a drawback to the struggle for justice of victims like Roxas,” she said.###